Since my childhood I have been fascinated by the diversity of both Austrian but also exotic nature. Therfore I am grateful to now be able to pursue this interest in the framework of my research. My research interests are primarily focused on the assessment of biodiversity using molecular genetic tools. I mostly work on very applied questions with relevance to nature conservation, but thereby also apply basic scientific approaches from population genetics, phylogeography and molecular ecology.
During my dissertation at the University of Graz I investigated the genetic diversity of native freshwater fishes (mainly brown trout - Salmo trutta) to assess the autochthonous status of trout populations, to evaluate potentially different selection pressures in wild versus hatchery populations and to reconstruct postglacial recolonization routes.
After my dissertation, my work shifted more towards mammals, Austrian and African. After graduation, I worked in the genetics laboratory of the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia studying the genetic diversity of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) on the surrounding farmland, as well as contributing to the development of various methods for genetic identification of several other carnivores, mainly using non-invasive genetic sampling.
Since my return to Graz, Austria, I have been involved in several state-wide surveys on the Eurasian otter's (Lutra lutra) distribution and population size, mostly based on analysis of fecal samples.
My current research interests also include the use of environmental DNA (or eDNA). eDNA allows to infere the presence of species in the environment based on DNA extracted from environmental samples (such as water, soil or air). More details about my current work - see "Projects".